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Before You Buy a Home in Tacoma

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Before You Buy a Home in Tacoma

Buying a new home can be an altogether exciting, and nerve racking experience. Of course, one of the most important steps to make sure that everything inside the home is in good working condition. While this seems like common sense, most of the time, people are quick to forget about what’s going on underneath the house which is just as important. Getting your potential home’s sewer and water pipelines inspected could possibly save you a very expensive issue later down the line.


Due to Tacoma’s historic nature, a lot of the old original sewer lines still run through the city. Unless the line has been replaced, you will most likely be dealing with either cement, clay tile, or orange burg pipe. All of these materials were not meant to last more than a few decades. This is why if the side sewer from the house you are considering is 25 years or older, or does not have PVC running to the city main, it’s a good idea to get a camera scope, because it probably needs to be replaced. A simple camera scope of your sewer line will allow you to see any existing, or potential problems.


In the city of Tacoma, property owners are completely responsible for the care and maintenance of their own side sewers. This is all the more reason to be aware of what’s going on underground before purchasing a new home or property. Buildings that were constructed prior to 1980, tend to have pipes that are made of clay, or other materials that do not last, which makes them subject to deteriorating, crumbling, cracking, or root intrusions. This can lead to blockages, which can in turn lead to back-ups in your sinks, toilets, or pretty much any other system that relies on water drainage. Another problem can be rain or groundwater seeping into your sewer. This can cause overflowing of sewage into city streets or homes.


There are a few steps you can take to prevent future hassles before buying your new home. Ask the previous owner if they have ever had any problems with overflows, slow draining or leakages. This should give you a pretty decent idea of the recent history of the system. If they don’t know, Tacoma keeps permit record for some, but not all properties within the city. You can research these records by visiting this site, and clicking permit/ site history or calling.

Environmental Services at (253) 591-5588. Of course, the best thing you could do is to get one of our technicians out there for a camera inspection. This way, you will be able to see any sum pumps, drains, or other sources that may be allowing extra water into your sewer system. To schedule a side sewer inspection, contact our office at (253) 331-1206.